Zubin Bhettay is a 37-year-old serial entrepreneur from South Africa. Zubin’s global recognition comes from his idea to launch his company Fuzzy as the CEO and CO-Founder. It is a pet organization that connects pet owners and veterinarian professionals. Different pets like dogs and cats are important to the human lifestyle. These animals do not only need food and snacks but also love and compassion. Which kind of pet do you have in your home? What are the major health measures you take to keep the pet healthy? Fuzzy uses technology to offer pet owners access to top experts and health practices. Zubin Bhettay is now leading the company to greater performance and growth.
Early life and schooling
Zubin’s early life was full of challenges both as a kid and as a young adult. He grew up in Cape Town, South Africa with his single mother. Like any other entrepreneur, he always had a dream to have a positive impact on the world. During his childhood, Zubin saw his mother toil day and night to provide for the family. Zubin’s mother became his source of inspiration because of her relentlessness. His mother graduated from the University of Cape Town Medical School. She was the first woman of color to hold a degree in Anesthetics. Also, Zubin’s mother took part in land reparations and Apartheid events to fight for her people. As a result of her medical background, she became a doctor to help patients get better. Afterward, she relocated to the UK to further her life and career when Zubin was older. Having this experience changed his perspective to work hard like his mother. This firsthand encounter was the foundation of Zubin’s black excellence dream.
The birth of the Fuzzy Pet Health idea was due to a traumatic event Zubin went through with his pet Mo. Zubin rescued Mo beside the road after abandonment by her previous owner. Mo is a black cocker spaniel dog breed. Zubin decided to take Mo to a clinic for emergency diagnostic tests. This trip to a veterinarian was challenging and expensive. Zubin had to spend more than $2500 to pay for the medical services of Mo. After the treatment process was complete, Mo’s health was safe but Zubin was not satisfied. It was because Zubin had a bad customer experience due to high medical costs. Also, the clinic did not have a quality veterinary care system. As a result, Zubin did research and discovered the gap for pet owners to access quality services. This event brought the idea to start Fuzzy company by embracing technology.
Zubin went through his high school education at Rondebosch Boys Highschool. During his teenage years, Zubin had the desire to become an influential businessman. As an enthusiastic student, Zubin got a chance at the University of Cape Town. He graduated in 2011 with a Master of Business Administration (MBA). He took courses in Market Penetration, Corporate Strategy, and Emerging Markets. With his educational background in technology, Zubin began his internships at Xerox firm. He later expanded to mobile networking and software. Zubin got his license in Strategic Account Management in 2007 while working at Xerox.
“Nothing in my career spoke to me moving into the pet industry. My background is in technology and started at Xerox and then ended up going into marketing software or mobile software and mobile networks. So, I found myself walking in the industry because of my dog, Mo. I ended up having to rush her into the emergency back clinic one day and found the experience of getting veterinarian care pretty challenging, long waiting room, wait times, eventually seeing veterinarians, and incredibly high cost of care. I think anyone that’s a pet parent at some point has witnessed or experienced a shock veterinary bill. And we realized that there was an opportunity to use technology to be able to make exceptional veterinary care more accessible to folks.”
Before launching Fuzzy Pet Health, Zubin had worked in DoubleDutch and Xerox companies. Being around pros with varying biographies helped Zubin to understand how to run a brand. At Xerox, Zubin was part of the leadership programs focusing on mobile networking. For example, he led the software team developing mPesa services. M-Pesa is a mobile payment software that makes it easy for people to transfer money. This organization provides money services solutions in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. Zubin got a promotion in Xerox that made him receive a Xerox Selling for Success Program license. Entering the pro-industry assisted Zubin to network with investors and partners in different ventures. In 2009, Zubin got an opportunity in Capita as the Enterprise Account Director. It is an IT company specializing in information technology consulting.
Zubin’s official duty at DoubleDutch is what paved the way for inventing Fuzzy Pet Health. He worked in this company for more than 3 years. DoubleDutch is a software development company that is now part of Cvent firm. Zubin was the Vice President of Global Sales and Managing Director of EMEA & APAC. During this period in DoubleDutch, Zubin learned how to build an app and website pages. He used this technology idea in Fuzzy to improve veterinary care access for pet owners. Establishing Fuzzy also separated Zubin from his peers to be a worthy competitor.
“We believe that in using data and the right education on how to best care for pets from day one. We can double the lifespan of our furry family members. Fuzzy is a telehealth platform that goes beyond putting a veterinary professional in front of a camera or a chat interface. We focus on a framework of engagement, digital tools & tracking, monitoring, and ongoing follow-up care to be the definitive toolkit for the modern pet parent.”
“Preventive care will save the average pet parent seven and a half thousand dollars through the course of the life of their pet, just preventive care, just doing the things day-to-day. I’ll give you an example. I was chatting with our veterinary team just this morning, and we had a patient that came in where the dog had skin allergies and was then chewing their paw to a point where the paw was swollen and then bleeding and then needed to go into a veterinary clinic. And their bill was three and a half thousand dollars to address for something. And all it would’ve taken was anti-histamine or proper allergy treatment preventively and it would have eliminated that.”
Zubin started Fuzzy company because of his personal experience with his pet Mo. Zubin argues in an interview that pet health has much importance as human health. He acknowledges that pet parents should love and treat their pets like babies/kids. Zubin’s concept of offering the parent good veterinary care was to double the life span of pets.
Fuzzy is a technology-based platform that offers personalized treatment for pets. The company has 24/7 one-on-one services featuring high-ranking veterinarians. Fuzzy has experts who teach pet owners strategies to upgrade the health of their pets. One of the key factors that make Fuzzy stand out from competitors is affordable services. Pet products are available depending on the needs of customers. Fuzzy has changed the life of pet owners because they can access vet services from anywhere.
Leadership roles and awards
Like popular profiles of pros, the leadership of Zubin stands out more than most figures. Zubin believes that a company’s success reflects on the type of team present. He recognizes that a brand needs employees who share the same values as the founders. A good team comprises experts who desire to work with you to reach the goal of the company. Developing a striving culture is one of Zubin’s strengths when launching Fuzzy. The company has an elite team of doctors like the Chief Veterinary Officer. Fuzzy has been on the frontline of helping communities by supplying pet supplements. Also, the foundation agency of Fuzzy rescues abandoned pets by providing shelter. These practices became possible after Fuzzy acquired the Dandy company. It is an organization that produces and markets pet supplements.
As a result of hard work and dedication, Forbes named Zubin in the ‘40 under 40’ top entrepreneurs. Forbes Magazine also recognized Fuzzy as the top ‘25 Pet Healthcare Brands’ in the USA. Zubin’s work has proven to solve an ideal problem in the healthcare industry. Fuzzy now partners with other technology competitors to improve the e-commerce business.
Zubin Bhettay’s story proves incredibly inspiring because of his core background. From a young age, he saw his mother work and attend school at the same time. Due to this encounter, Zubin knew that everything is possible in life. He is plain proof that dreams can come true no matter where you come from. The key lesson of this story is humility is a trait any entrepreneur should have to succeed. Besides, it is better to be a learner than pretend to know everything. Building relationship with professionals is ideal to increase your networks and audience.
Zubin Bhettay is part of our Black Founders50 Series. Download the complete 2023 BBVA Founders50 list here.